|21 December 2006
My sister-in-law Ma Htar Htar Thu and I had ordered a taxi to bring us from our hotel on the shore of Inle Lake to the degree confluence north of Taunggyi on the Shan Plateau as near as possible. I had investigated the degree confluence on Google Earth and had taken a look for the best route to get there. The spot is located east of the road from Shwenyaung to Lawksawk before you reach the village of Panpyet. Unfortunately it was difficult to examine the accessibility of the degree confluence beforehand, because there were only satellite pictures and no detailed aerial photos from that part of Myanmar. On the other hand, it makes a degree confluence visit much more exiting if you do not know what to expect!
When we told the taxi driver to drive to Panpyet he looked worried and told us that he had to discuss our destination with his boss in Nyaungshwe. We drove to town and met his boss who told us that the road to Panpyet was too bad for his taxi and that we need another car. He himself did not have any suitable car, but a colleague did. The taxi driver brought us to a garage where we hired a pick-up with large sized wheels, wide tyres and a seat in the front on which we could sit side by side next to the driver. Needless to say, that this type of off-road car was a lot more expensive to hire.
It took us one hour and forty minutes before we reached a point on the road to Panpyet where my GPS receiver indicated that the degree confluence was almost at a right angle east of the road. We took the first opportunity to leave the tarmac and turned right onto a sandy road. We followed this road for almost half an hour when it turned to the north into a small village named Hti Khan. The driver parked the car and my sister-in-law and I started walking to the east on a dirt track which condition was too bad for driving, even for this car.
We had walked a little more than an hour through a hilly landscape on small footpaths and cross country. Many seeds were clinging tenaciously to our longyis (sarongs) and we had a tedious job in removing them. We finally reached the degree confluence in the middle of some thicket on the edge of a small field at an altitude of 1000 meters. Actually there was not much to see, besides a dead tree and the many zeros on my GPS receiver.